I have come to realize that as community managers may be doing ourselves a disservice by choosing that title. We are all in agreement that we’re not managing anyone. But do organizations understand the term ‘Community’?

It seems that the larger the organization, the bigger the challenge. Small businesses and start-ups understand the value of having a community manager. In the last few years it is in vogue to add the position. And if the brand has a product support site, then the role is defined as a forum moderator. Oh how narrow that view is!

Let’s start with a definition for Community Manager:

The person in an organization that is the social media specialist and works cross-functionally and holistically to ensure that the business objectives in regard to social media are met. The primary objective is to serve as a translator between customers and prospects and the company and vice versa.

And what is the definition of their community? It depends on what the objectives are. But in general:

A community manager needs to support customers, prospects and colleagues. The three constituents have very different needs. Customers require excellent service and appreciation shown for their support of the brand. Prospects require information about the products and services that the company offers. Both will appreciate from information about additional services that will benefit them. And colleagues need training and support in best practices for utilizing social media to meet the objectives of their roles.

Both of those definitions are open to discussion. But do executives understand the term ‘community’ and ‘community manager’? Should they? or should we be speaking in their language?  

Should the role of community manager include the words Social Media Specialist? Would that better state what a community manager does?

Are we hurting ourselves by using words that traditional organizations aren’t familiar with? Is it arrogant to expect them to learn our vocabulary? Is it seen as vogue and trendy? or should we be speaking in terms of their business objectives? Will we get more respect if we do so?